Travel exemption for individuals in critical sectors or with critical skills

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JADE can help our clients through this process

The Australian Migration policy in 2021-22 will continue to focus on Australia’s economy from COVID-19. The priority is given to categories that provide investment, talent, and critical skills to Australia, to assist Australia’s economic recovery.

The three priority categories within the Skill stream for 2021-22 are:

  • Business Innovation and Investment Program (Changes have introduced)
  • Global Talent Visa Program
  • Employer Sponsored Program

The Commissioner of the Australian Border Force may grant an individual exemption if you are a non-citizen:

  • travelling at the invitation of the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority for the purpose of assisting in the COVID-19 response
  • providing critical or specialist medical services, including air ambulance, medical evacuations and delivering critical medical supplies
  • with critical skills required to maintain the supply of essential goods and services (such as in medical technology, critical infrastructure, telecommunications, engineering and mining, supply chain logistics, aged care, agriculture, primary industry, food production, and the maritime industry)
  • delivering services in sectors critical to Australia’s economic recovery (such as financial technology, large scale manufacturing, film, media and television production and emerging technology), where no Australian worker is available
  • providing critical skills in religious or theology fields
  • sponsored by your employer to work in Australia in an occupation on the Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List (PMSOL).  See list below.
  • whose entry would otherwise be in Australia’s national interest, supported by the Australian Government or a state or territory government authority.

An individual can submit a request for a travel exemption under this category or a business can submit a request on their behalf. The applications of multiple travellers within the same group/business can be linked, so that the requests are considered together.

 You will need to provide appropriate evidence to support the claims. Applicants working in a critical sector must provide evidence of current employment in Australia. Requests may be finalised without further consideration if insufficient evidence is provided.

An exemption should generally be applied for at least two weeks, but not more than two months, before planned travel. Urgent business travel will be considered inside this timeframe.

The request must include:

  • traveller details: name, DOB, visa type and number, passport number, proposed residential address and phone number in Australia
  • reasons for travel: why your request should be considered for Commissioner discretion/exemption
  • supporting statement: setting out how you meet one of the critical skills/critical sector grounds for exemption
  • accompanying evidence: the request should be accompanied by supporting evidence, such as a letter from a business involved in the provision of critical goods and services, Australian Government or state and territory government authority advising why your travel is critical at this time

Individuals must hold a valid visa and an exemption from the Commissioner before they travel.

Do I need to hold a visa before requesting a travel exemption?

An individual making a request under this category does not need to hold a visa at the time of applying for an exemption from Australia’s travel restrictions. If the travel exemption is approved, you need to have a valid visa to travel. All requirements must be met in order to be granted a visa. Information on the visa types and requirements can be found on the Department’s website.

Travelling with an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Business Travel Card (ABTC)

ABTC holders and applicants are not automatically exempt from Australia’s travel restrictions. If you need to enter Australia for business related to a critical sector, you can request an exemption and provide evidence to support your claims.

An ABTC does not allow you to work in Australia. If you intend to work in Australia, you must have a valid visa with work rights.

The Priority Migration Skilled Occupation List

The 44 occupations (ANZSCO code) are:

  • Chief Executive or Managing Director (111111)
  • Construction Project Manager (133111)
  • Accountant (General) (221111)
  • Management Accountant (221112)
  • Taxation Accountant (221113)
  • External Auditor (221213)
  • Internal Auditor (221214)
  • Surveyor (232212)
  • Cartographer (232213)
  • Other Spatial Scientist (232214)
  • Civil Engineer (233211)
  • Geotechnical Engineer (233212)
  • Structural Engineer (233214)
  • Transport Engineer (233215)
  • Electrical Engineer (233311)
  • Mechanical Engineer (233512)
  • Mining Engineer (excluding Petroleum) (233611)
  • Petroleum Engineer (233612)
  • Medical Laboratory Scientist (234611)
  • Veterinarian (234711)
  • Hospital Pharmacist (251511)*
  • Industrial Pharmacist (251512)*
  • Retail Pharmacist (251513)*
  • Orthotist or Prosthetist (251912)
  • General Practitioner (253111)
  • Resident Medical Officer (253112)
  • Psychiatrist (253411)
  • Medical Practitioners nec (253999)
  • Midwife (254111)
  • Registered Nurse (Aged Care) (254412)
  • Registered Nurse (Critical Care and Emergency) (254415)
  • Registered Nurse (Medical) (254418)
  • Registered Nurse (Mental Health) (254422)
  • Registered Nurse (Perioperative) (254423)
  • Registered Nurses nec (254499)
  • Multimedia Specialist (261211)
  • Analyst Programmer (261311)
  • Developer Programmer (261312)
  • Software Engineer (261313)
  • Software and Applications Programmers nec (261399)
  • ICT Security Specialist (262112)
  • Social Worker (272511)
  • Maintenance Planner (312911)
  • Chef (351311)

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